If you’re planning a party, you’d better make sure you know who you’re inviting. I attended a home recently where the homeowner lost all her family heirlooms to a trusted attendee at her 60th birthday party.
This is one of the worst types of robberies because it puts all family and friends in question. It can be particularly upsetting to the homeowner not only because of the losses suffered but because of the uncomfortable circumstances.
Imagine, somebody this homeowner knew stole from her. I’ve heard of this happening several times through the course of my career, but I have to admit it almost always involves only cash.
I know we all like to think we have honest family and friends, but dishonesty comes in all shapes and sizes.
The average house party today designates an area for the guests to drop off their jacket, coat or purse. This is often the party host’s master bedroom.
This opens up a wonderful opportunity for a thief to sneak into the homeowner’s bedroom and help themselves to whatever they wish.
For the most part, we can blame party theft on the times. Sadly there are many desperate people who wouldn’t think twice about stealing from family and friends.
After all, what better venue to execute the crime than a private birthday party where they blend in like a chameleon?
So how can we prevent these incidents from happening? Perhaps a little forward planning can help party-proof your home.
Always find a safe place for valuables. Jewelry, watches, wallets and purses should be kept under lock and key in a different location.
It makes sense to allow only invited guests into your home. Uninvited guests may not be well known to you and may not respect your property.
And, keep in mind, the fewer folks you have at your party, the less chance a theft will occur, so try to keep your guest list to a minimum.
You need to pick a closet where you can store your guests’ coats and purses. And I usually recommend switching out the existing doorknob with a locking one.
Removing a locking doorknob from somewhere else in the home and installing it on the closet door for the evening is a great money-saving idea.
The host could then take coats, jackets and purses and lock them in the closet for safekeeping. This helps prevent people from wandering through your home and maintains honesty and integrity.
I’ve also seen times when the thief is not an invited guest. Sometimes an outside opportunist who happens to be passing by sneaks in through an unlocked door when the guests are preoccupied in another room and commits his or her thievery.
This is why it’s important to make sure all your guests lock the doors when they come in from outside.
Installing reminder signs on all exterior doors before the party is a good way to prevent a sneak thief from entering your home.
And if your children are planning a party, they need to be aware of the dangers of broadcasting their event via social networks.
There have been several incidents where children have posted details of house parties on social networking sites only to have hundreds of gatecrashers show up at their front doorstep.
Any communication online carries with it a certain amount of risk. Young folks often don’t understand the dangers involved in volunteering too much personal information on the Internet.
And if you or your children are planning a large party, it’s much easier to rent a hall or recreation facility to hold your event. This will help keep your home safe from theft and will pay for itself in saved wear and tear.
For larger parties, I always recommend hiring security guards who are certified and trained in special events. These folks know how to neutralize the safety threat and ensure all partygoers have an enjoyable, safe time.